I guess you need to do some more thinking to straighten out your views on qualia.
Imagine a flashlight with a red piece of cellophane over it pointed at a wall. Scientists some day discover that the red dot on the wall is caused by the flashlight -- it appears each and every time the flashlight fires and only when the flashlight is firing. However, the red dot on the wall is certainly not the same as the flashlight: one is a flashlight and one is a red dot.
The red dot, on the other hand, could be reduced to some sort of interaction between certain frequencies of light-waves and wall-atoms and so on. But it will certainly not get reduced to flashlights.
By the same token, you are not going to reduce the-subjective-experience-of-seeing-red to neurons; subjective experiences aren't made out of neurons any more than red dots are made of flashlights.
Because the neuron firing pattern is presumably the cause of the quale, it's certainly not the quale itself.
They're not assumptions, they're the answers to questions that have the highest probability going for them given the evidence.
Of course not!
Who said anything about our intuitions (except you, of course)?
I guess it really depends on what you mean by free will. If by free will, pjeby meant some kind of qualitative experience, then it strikes me that what he means by it is just a form of qualia and so of course the qualia argument goes through. If he means by it something more complicated, then I don't see how point one holds (we experience it), and the argument obviously doesn't go through.
Because it's the only thing in the universe we've found with a first-person ontology. How else do you explain it?
Well, let's be clear: the argument I laid out is trying to refute the claim that "I can create a human-level consciousness with a Turing machine". It doesn't mean you couldn't create an AI using something other than a pure Turing machine and it doesn't mean Turing machines can't do other smart computations. But it does mean that uploading a brain into a Von Neumann machine isn't going to keep you alive.
So if you disagree that qualia is a basic fact of physics, what do you think it reduces to? Is there anything else that has a first-person ontology the way qualia does?
And if you think physics can tell whether something is a Turing-machine-simulating-a-brain, what's the physical algorithm for looking at a series of physical particles and deciding whether it's executing a particular computation or not?
I guess my phrasing was unclear. What Searle is trying to do is generate reductions for things like "money" and "human rights"; I think EY is trying to do something similar and it takes him more than just one article on the Mind Projection Fallacy. (Even once you establish that it's properties of minds, not particles, there's still a lot of work left to do.)